As predicted, I didn’t manage to finish All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer yet. I’ve got a good excuse, though. It was my birthday weekend. Yes, weekend. Because when you reach a certain age, then you get to celebrate all weekend (or not at all, whatever you prefer). I did spend a few hours reading on Friday evening, and I’m absolutely loving this novel. The setting of the Second World War is immensely appealing as I’m a total history nut. In fact, I often make the hubby take me on weekends away to battlefields and museums rather than some romantic destination. (If you look up history geek in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of me smiling and waving.)
The first chapter of All The Light We Cannot See, in which the allied troops bomb Saint-Malo, reminded me of one such weekend away with the hubby. For my fortieth (yikes!) birthday, we spent a weekend traipsing all over the Somme battlefield. We ended up at the Somme 1916 Museum in Albert. The museum is located in a tunnel dating from the 13th Century.
The tunnel now houses a museum of the Somme battle of 1916. When we visited, we had our dog with us, which meant we ended up taking turns visiting the museum. I would not recommend this. Let me explain. First, you descend 63 steps into the tunnel to start your visit at the museum. So far, so good. Then, you visit 12 different scenes depicting life in the trenches. Totally interesting. So interesting in fact that you start to feel as if you are actually a soldier in the trenches. This is where the problem begins, because the visit ends in a corridor with a light and sound show recreating the atmosphere of a night of bombing.
During the entire visit, you can hear the sound of ‘bombing’ emanating from the final corridor. Whenever the door opens for a visitor to enter the final corridor, lights are flashing. Before I even opened that door, my imagination had transported me back to 1916. And suddenly, there I was, completely alone in a trench with the sound of bombing all around me and lights flashing. I tried to walk through the trench. Really, I did. About half way through, I gave up and just ran to the end. There was no one to see my humiliation. Or at least that’s what I thought. When I ascended to the gift shop I noticed a wall of screens for the workers to monitor the visitors in the museum below. With my face burning, I rushed out of the door and went to find the hubby. And no, I didn’t tell him what was awaiting him at the bottom of the steps.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing All The Light We Cannot See. Really, I promise. I can’t wait to finish! I may have pushed the hubby out of the door this morning as he left for a business trip to Australia.